It was the doctor who pulled creature out of the 150-gallon aquarium in his office. He was wearing thick gloves that went all the way up to his elbows. His clothing did not look like a doctor—jeans and a t-shirt. He reminded me of Mike Rowe in many ways, especially when he laughed. With a quick movement and a flourish of water drops, he settled the heavy thing onto the bike helmet that was strapped securely on top of my head. It made clackety noises as it settled into place; tightening down with a fearsome grip.
Extremely nervous, I tried not to think about the water that dripped and soaked into the material along my shoulders. I was scared, but as long as it didn’t touch me, I’d be alright.
As it clung there, my task was to transport it from cubicle to cubicle so everyone had a chance to see what was hidden deep in its pulsing recesses. I watched the looks of repulsion on the faces as I came near.
Lowering myself into a squat or kneeling down, the only thing I could see was the lower half of their body as they moved this way and that to get a better look. Expressions of, “Oh! That’s cool!” or something similar came from everyone. They thanked me when I moved on.
Not quite half way through the office tour, it started to move. I could feel it shifting its weight — stretching out one boney arm and then another. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see it beginning to explore.
A shiver traveled through me. Cold fear instantly replaced the blood in my veins. I moved faster, barely slowing down to let people look. My breath caught in my throat as I felt more movements.
A squishy part of the creature that was right over my forehead began to ooze through the holes in the helmet. Its warm softness expanded and probed as it made contact with my scalp. Panicked, I screamed, “Get it off! I can’t stand it anymore! I don’t want it touching me!”
The doctor hurried over, making assurances that everything was perfectly fine. But I saw the worried look he tried to hide as he rushed us back toward the tank. I was hyperventilating by the time he got the long gloves back on and began reaching for it.
With a hasty scoop, the weight was lifted from my head. I tried to push from my mind the sounds it made as its many arms scrabbled against the hard plastic. With a splash, it was back in its tank where it scuttled, spider-like into a dark corner—disappearing from sight.
I never knew what it was that the office workers had seen.
Story Inspiration: a colorful, graphic and stress-inducing dream..Something ‘crabby’ on my mind?